For a true, Botticellian, Venus-rising-from-the-surf moment, it’s hard to top the one in the first James Bond movie, when Sean Connery’s spy meets the first real Bond Girl, Honey Ryder, as she emerges from the waters off Jamaica in a now-legendary belted white bikini, carrying sea shells and wielding a knife. (That’s a Bond girl for you, temptation and danger, wrapped up in a neat blonde package.) Swiss actress Ursula Andress won the part even though she spoke very little English at the time; as it turned out, she hardly needed to.
The scene made her internationally famous and has spawned many an imitation, even within the Bond films themselves. Halle Berry’s entrance in an orange bikini in Die Another Day is widely considered an homage. And in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s first Bond film, there are two references, both on Jamaican beaches. One comes when Solange (Caterina Murino) arrives on horseback, as if to top Andress’ entrance. But the other is when Craig himself climbs out of the surf, dripping wet in his blue briefs. At last, after 44 years of 007, the franchise had achieved some kind of equal-opportunity exploitation, a little bit of gender parity in the department of sultry entrances in revealing beachwear.
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